On the eve of the long awaited new season of Doctor Who, here are ten things I want to see in the show’s tenth run since its 2005 reboot.
1. The twelfth Doctor back to his best
The casting of Peter Capaldi was obviously a move that changed the direction in which Steven Moffat was taking the show. He was branded a “Rebel Timelord” before he’d even debuted, and in season eight and in flashes during season nine, that’s what we got. Moments like the Clockwork Man’s death in Deep Breath and the now famous “War Speech” in The Zygon Inversion showed just how good Capaldi can be when he’s given a script that suits his Doctor. All this mucking about with sonic sunglasses and calling himself “Doctor Disco” haven’t been in keeping with the character we were first introduced to. It’s Capaldi’s final year as the Doctor, so I want to see Moffat and the other writers get the very best out of him. Drop the gimmicks and get him back to his grumpy, dark, yet magnificent best.
2. The return of Rassilon
Regular readers will know how highly I rate Rassilon, and not to bring back Donald Sumpter to avenge the twelfth Doctor would be a criminal waste of talent on Steven Moffat’s part. Whether we see Rassilon at a stage in his timeline before Hell Bent, possibly helping John Simm’s Master, or we see a desperate Rassilon try anything to regain control of Gallifrey, he could be and should be such a key player in the twelfth Doctor’s story. I just hope Steven Moffat realises what a strong character he’s got at his disposal, and utilises him.
3. Daleks doing some exterminating
Dalek, all the way back in season one, was always going to be such a tricky episode to top. One single Dalek wreaked terror on an underground base, like any good Dalek should. Sadly since then, the Doctor’s most famous foes have been on a steady decline, not helped by a multi-coloured makeover along the way. To be fair to Russell T. Davies, he tried to keep them interesting throughout his era. The Cult of Skaro was an intriguing concept, despite that little story arc perhaps falling flat in its conclusion. Throughout the Steven Moffat era though, the Daleks have almost become a laughing stock. Season ten is a pivotal one for the killing machines from Skaro. With a new showrunner coming in next year, another flop appearance may see them discarded from the show for a long while, if not for good. Give them a significant part, make them a threat, and let’s see them do what they do best – exterminate.
4. A good Mark Gatiss script
With long term chum Steven Moffat leaving his role as head writer and executive producer, this could be Gatiss’ last chance to write for the show he loves. His scripts have all so far contained some fascinating ideas and concepts, sadly the majority of which didn’t turn out especially well. This year Gatiss is once again writing an episode about the Ice Warriors, again a concept, on paper, which excites me. The episode will need to turn out better than his recent attempts though if he hopes to return under a new showrunner. His last effort, Sleep No More was nothing more than atrocious.
5. Plenty of shared screen time for John Simm and Michelle Gomez
Donald Sumpter, Ken Bones and Timothy Dalton just to name a few, have all guest starred in Doctor Who and have all been badly underused. John Simm and Michelle Gomez are undoubtedly masters (if you excuse the pun) of their trade, so let’s see them together as much as possible. I don’t want to see one of them plotting something or pulling strings from afar. The chemistry these two could create on screen together has the potential to be phenomenal, so let’s see them thrown into the heat of battle together, and for as long as possible.
6. A return to “Monster of the Week” format
Although season nine got close to this, we haven’t really enjoyed a “Monster of the Week” season since Matt Smith’s debut year, back in 2010. Not only does this make episodes easier to follow for the casual viewer, it helps bring a sense of adventure to the show, with a new location and villain every week. I’m all for Steven Moffat attempting one last story arc before he departs, but I hope it’s done subtly enough for the quality of individual episodes to remain unblemished by it.
7. A story set on Gallifrey
Doctor Who fans waited for ten years for a story to be set on Gallifrey after we first learned of its destruction in the Time War. Hell Bent promised us one, but didn’t deliver and cheated us all out of a full and triumphant return to his home planet for the Doctor as he swiftly departed again after a mere twenty minutes. Setting a full episode on Gallifrey could teach us so much about several different loose ends in the show. And what better place for the twelfth Doctor to regenerate than the planet he went through his own personal hell to find?
8. Relevance to Nardole
Why is Nardole back? Even the biggest fan of his, or of Matt Lucas must struggle to find a valid reason for his return. Of course, there could be a number of reasons why the Doctor has invited him aboard the TARDIS. We as viewers deserve to find out, if we don’t it’ll seem like Steven Moffat lazily having his last bit of fun before he departs. I don’t think it’s fair to assume the audience will just take to a character who’s tagging along for no reason and without an explanation, I sense fans may swiftly turn against the character.
9. Mondasian Cybermen taking centre stage
The last time we met the Cybermen back in season eight, they were the play things of Missy. If we’re being honest, the Cybermen deserve better, so much better. Daleks and Master aside, the Cybermen are the Doctor’s most iconic nemesis, so they are well capable of fighting their own battles. Mondasian Cybermen returning, to the delight of Peter Capaldi, could be the catalyst for the species to return to their very best, which we’ve only seen flashes of since the sixties. Bringing back Daleks from different eras in season nine was only really done for show and to draw in viewers from the trailers. The design of the Mondasian Cybermen really is the most fearsome looking of all Cyber designs, so I hope they are used as the main threat of their story, rather than just fan service lurking in the background.
10. All of Steven Moffat’s loose ends tied up
Assuming season ten is going to end on a humungous cliffhanger in the lead up to Moffat and Capaldi’s exits at Christmas, all other loose ends that Moffat has created throughout his era, have to be tied up before then. Unless, issues like the twelfth Doctor’s cameo in The Day of the Doctor, for example, are key to the plot of the Christmas special, I hope they are over and done with by the time season ten draws to a close. The story behind the twelfth Doctor deserves all of the attention of the script, and a finale or Christmas special crammed with Moffat tying up his own storylines, just to be clever, will irritate and anger fans. Potentially having his final story overshadowed by side plots would be a huge injustice to arguably the finest actor to ever reprise the role of the Doctor.
So what would you like to see in season ten? Anything I’ve mentioned or do you have your own hopes? Leave your thoughts below and stick around over the weekend as I’ll be reviewing episode one of season ten, The Pilot.